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Pistons, Lakers agreed to Kobe Bryant trade in 2007

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

After all the anger and angst and fury of the immediate post-Shaq era had inspired Kobe Bryant to make a trade demand, Jerry Buss finally called his superstar guard to the owner’s home in the Los Angeles hills on an autumn evening in 2007.

The Los Angeles Lakers had found a trade for Bryant, but Buss warned him that it wasn’t to one of his selected destinations.

"Detroit," Buss said.

The Lakers had agreed to a deal to send Bryant to the Pistons and needed Bryant’s approval to waive his no-trade clause. The package included a combination of Detroit’s core players and draft picks, sources say.

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Would’ve been Rip, Tay and Amir Johnson along with a future #1 for Kobe in 2007. Story is true source says


In hindsight – and foresight, but not to the same degree – that deal would have been incredible for the Pistons, who were nearing the end of their run. Bryant has remained a superstar since 2007, and alone, his presence could have extended the Pistons run of contending an extra few years.

This is also why it’s so difficult to grade general managers. Joe Dumars settled for Allen Iverson as his star trade target, and that obviously didn’t end well. But how much should we credit Dumars for nearly acquiring Bryant? How much credit does Dumars deserve – not that he’ll ever get it – if his third or fourth plans were also savvy moves? What if Iverson was his third or fourth plan? We can usually grade general managers only on the moves they make and very rarely the ones they pass up, but continually coming close helps, because eventually a good deal will come through.


  • Feb 19, 201310:49 am
    by DasMark


    This is news coming out six years after the fact. Assuming the story was real, I would ascertain this trade as nothing more than forcing Bryant to take his hand off the trade button and settle in with LA again. 

    While Detroit was very competitive at that point, it certainly wasn’t any place Bryant wanted to go, especially as it was essentially the same team that stopped him from getting his fourth ring in 2004. 

  • Feb 19, 201310:55 am
    by Ryank


    Give Joe D some credit!  He nearly landed the best player in the NBA.  None of us know how close he has been to bringing in superstars and making trades like this that would change the entire landscape of the NBA.  He’s nearly killed a bear with a BB gun on this one.
    I’m guessing we are going to see much more Trader Joe (as he was known 10 years ago) now that Gores is allowing him to do his job.  Watch for roster upgrades over the next 12 months that will put us in position to contend within 2 years.

    • Feb 19, 20133:42 pm
      by DasMark


      Please don’t get my hopes up. 

      If he trades Josh Smith, I’m turning in my Pistons club card.  

  • Feb 19, 201310:57 am
    by ryan


    You forgot or neglected to mention that Grant Hill was mentioned as being likely to return to Detroit as a free agent small forward. Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant and Chauncey Billups would’ve been the starters with Arron Afflalo, Rodney Stuckey, Nazr Muhammad, Lindsey Hunter, Theo Ratliff, Ronald Dupree, Walter Hermann among others on the bench.

    I think that team with Bryant’s fire pushing it could’ve been truly great. Wallace and McDyess could’ve held down the defense with Hill doing a bit of everything (his ideal role), Kobe being Kobe and Chauncey running the show. The bench is nothing great but all of those guys could be useful role players.

    • Feb 19, 20134:46 pm
      by G


      That would’ve been a sweet team on offense & D. Too bad.

  • Feb 19, 201311:38 am
    by mixmasta


    Assuming this is true, then Joe should be credited. This was a done deal between 2 GMs if not of a no-trade clause.
    Joe is doing his job, no doubt about it. He would explore many option but how it ends up is entirely dependent on other GMs. That does not take away that Joe is trying unlike some other GMs out there.

    • Feb 19, 201312:07 pm
      by Huddy


      I think a lot of people don’t realize your point about other GMs having half the power in any deal when we think of Joe’s signings or lack of them at some points.  I have no idea how true this story is and don’t think we should just be let bad moves like CV and BG go easily, but fans don’t realize that conversations like this happen.  You never hear about the trade that could have been like this.

  • Feb 19, 201312:32 pm
    by MrCarter


    So what. All that means is that there would be less shots for everyone HERE instead of Los Angeles and more alienated teammates here too.

    • Feb 19, 201312:58 pm
      by Huddy


      Yes, would have been horrible I mean just look how bad the Lakers did after 2007 (especially in 2009 and 2010). 

      • Feb 19, 20131:58 pm
        by MrCarter


        So you’re saying that we would’ve ALSO gotten Pau Gasol in February the following year, like the Lakers did? As we know, it was that trade that started the Lakers turnaround from being just a playoff team to a CONTENDING team. Check the stats and W-L.

        • Feb 19, 20132:14 pm
          by Huddy


          No I’m saying Kobe is one of the greatest players of all time and it wouldn’t have been negative to acquire him at the very least it would have been less negative that the downward spiral that we actually experienced.  Are you saying there is no way we could have acquired anyone in addition to Kobe to make a turnaround?  Obviously simply getting Kobe Bryant doesn’t mean we would have won championships but simply having a player like Kobe draws interest from other players that would look at our team as a contender.  To act like there is no way having Kobe Bryant on our team would have been positive is ridiculous.  Check Kobe’s stats he is obviously a good player that could help just about any franchise.

          • Feb 19, 20134:00 pm
            by MrCarter

            I guess that’s a good debate topic, but we’ll never really know. But I doubt that the pieces we had at that time(Rasheed, Maxiell, Dyess, etc) would’ve been able to land us a at-his-prime Gasol, since Memphis was basically looking to clear cap room and get draft picks. But again, we don’t have a time machine for that.

  • Feb 19, 201312:44 pm
    by TheDoctor


    Wow! shows how joe d was going big to help this team.  switching to now i sounded like joe was trying to get Rudy gay first in the Jose Calderon deal from his quotes. Jose was a second option. I’m guessing joe wants that scoring guard …oj mayo maybe who he is targeting in the offseason. Who knows!

  • Feb 19, 20131:49 pm
    by Desolation Row



    I bet you Kobe would’ve made damn well sure ‘Sheed stayed in shape. And there’s no way we lose to LeBron in ’07 or the Celtics in ’08 with Kobe on the roster. %!@#$!


  • Feb 19, 20132:32 pm


    In 2007 when was Kobe suppose to be a Free-agent? … Anyway it would have been Great for the City of Detroit.

    I like said many, many times Dumars is great at making trades but he is average at drafting, and below average at signing FA’s …

    • Feb 19, 20133:44 pm
      by Shawn


      I wholeheartedly disagree with your last two ascertions.  Joe D has done very well with drafting and signing free agents.  He did after all sign Chauncey Billups and retain his own free agents during the 6 ECF run.  I know that many fault him for BG and CV being so terrible but fail to remember that Ben Gordan and Charlie Villanueva were the best available free agents from their respective free agent class. I have also heard people offer up the names of Mateen Cleeves and Rodney White as examples of his terrible drafting but fail to mention that those were weak drafts.  The only glaring mistake that cannot be explained away easily was missing on so many future HOF players in the Darko draft, but even that was turned in to something better when he received a draft pick for him in the trade to Orlando. 
      Many of his draft picks are still in the league on other teams.

      Joe has demonstrated himself to be one of the better GMs in the business without having a glamorous market to lure free agents and a money concious owner.

  • Feb 20, 201312:53 pm
    by Todd


    Oh boy, we could have had a Chauncey-Kobe combo rather than a Rip-Iverson combo? While I am not a big Kobe fan, no one can argue that he isn’t one of the most dedicated players in the game. That would have created an amazing transition from the defense-oriented teams of the mid-2000s into a well-balanced team set to compete in the latter portion of the 2000s and into the 2010s. Man, I would take Kobe in a year, over the Iverson we got in that trade. Ugghhh! 

  • [...] that is most intriguing. The Detroit Pistons, fresh off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, agreed to a deal with the Lakers centered around breaking up their All-Star core to bring in Bryant in a “go big or go [...]

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